Saturday, February 27, 2010

Spring Has Sprung!

Our Ducklings

Yes, it's still cold outside and there are even patches of snow on the ground, but it feels like spring here at Mountain Hollow Farm because we received 15 ducklings in the mail yesterday.

In a month or so when they are ready to go outside, we will put them in the pasture with our goats. These ducklings are Khaki Campbells, one of several breeds that are excellent foragers. They love to eat plants and bugs, including liver flukes and other nasty parasites that can infect goats.

Parasite infestation is one of the leading causes of death in goats and the parasites are becoming resistant to medications. Therefore, the more we can do to prevent infestation, the better.

Another benefit to this breed is that they make good mothers, so maybe next year, we'll have more little ducklings.

Young Adult Khaki Campbells
(photo compliments of Cackle Hatchery)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Sad Day at MHF

Today was a sad day. We found Spotless, our mascot goat, dead. He got twisted up in a cross fence in the pasture and couldn't get out.

You hear about things like that happening, but you never think it will happen to yourself. It is really terrible to lose a goat to something like that. When we erected that fence, it never crossed my mind that a goat would get tangled in it. It's electric, so one touch and they should back off. Of course now I look at it and think "I should have known better".

When we first erected the fence, it was 4 electric wires and some of the goats would sneak right through between the wires. So we added more wire but it was loose and loopy. That was our mistake. No more loose and loopy fences for us. A new, safer fence is going up tomorrow and the boys who don't respect the fence will be wethered (fixed), sold, or taken to the butcher.

Spotless was a wonderful goat. He was beautiful, had a great personality, and respected the fence... until last night.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Contact Us

Mountain Hollow Farm is a cashmere goat farm situated on the historic Vancel Mill property along Blairs Creek, just 1.2 miles off Route 25E between Tazewell and Harrogate. While the mill is no longer standing, the original home, store and barn are.

The directions are the same whether you are traveling from the north or south.
1. From Route 25E, turn onto Blairs Creek Road directly across from the RO Giles Flea Market.
2. Turn right onto Harbor Road.
3. Turn left onto Vancel Road (it is a gravel road).
4. Travel 0.9 mile to the farm on the left.

Mountain Hollow Farm
553 Vancel Road, Tazewell, TN 37879
(423) 869-8927
Twitter: MHFCashmere

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Moving the Coop

Generally, I think we live a pretty normal life. But sometimes we do very un-ordinary things. I wish I would have remembered to take a photo of this one.

The other day, Brett decided it was time to move the chicken coop.

We also call it the poultry palace because it turned out so big. It was our first building project. We were trying to build a floorless coop that could be easily moved so the chickens would always have access to fresh grass. Well... it's a great coop but it is way too heavy to move easily.

Therefore, Brett got the tow-rope out and hooked the coop to the back of his truck. Not a pick-up truck, mind you, but an 18 wheeler cab. Like I said, I wish I would have taken pictures. It was quite a sight. Especially when he got stuck in the yard.

The Poultry Palace

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Stitch & Spin

Today was my first Stitch & Spin session. I was a little nervous about it, but it turned out great! Five knitters attended. We had a great time sharing knitting tips, getting to know each other, and looking at each other's projects. The conversation was varied; everything from knitting tips to funny stories about children "flipping the bird" (don't worry, there was nothing vulgar about it) and before we knew it, it was time to go.

Now I can't wait until next week's session. Stitch & Spin is a free 2-hour session on Saturdays from 10am-noon for yarn lovers. If you knit, crochet or spin, bring your current project and join us. For more information, contact me at (423) 869-8927 or

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Interesting Egg Facts

1Our chickens are finally laying enough eggs that we have some to sell. A friend asked me recently how long eggs stay fresh. I knew (the kind of know that you’ve known as long as you can remember but you don’t know why) that eggs stay fresh for a couple months but I had no official documentation of that so I did a little research.

A hen puts a protective coating (called the bloom) on the egg as she lays it. The bloom keeps contaminants from entering pores in the shell (eggshells have up to 17,000 pores). Processing plants wash the eggs and coat them with mineral oil to replace the bloom. This protective coating is removed when you wash or boil the egg. [Source]

I could not find an official governmental agency that would state how long an egg stays fresh from the time it is laid, but I found enough sites that said basically the same thing that I believe the following information is accurate.

This answer from sums it up the best: Farmers have 30 days from the day an egg is laid to get it to stores. Then, the stores have another 30 days to sell the eggs. The USDA recommends a maximum of 5 weeks in your refrigerator before you discard your eggs. What does this all boil down to? On April 1, you could be eating an egg that was laid on Christmas.

I'm not suggesting that you eat 3 month old eggs, but do you really like the idea that your eggs could be a month old before they even get to the store? Wouldn’t you much rather buy them from a local farmer? You’ll get better eggs, support the local economy, and they’ll be way healthier than the factory raised eggs sold in the supermarket.

According to, eggs from hens raised on pasture show 4 to 6 times as much vitamin D as typical supermarket eggs. If that’s not reason enough to buy eggs from chickens that actually get to eat their natural diet, then consider this: compared to official U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutrient data for commercial eggs, eggs from hens raised on pasture may contain:

• 1⁄3 less cholesterol
• 1⁄4 less saturated fat
• 2⁄3 more vitamin A
• 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
• 3 times more vitamin E
• 7 times more beta carotene

So there you have it… Properly handled farm fresh eggs are healthier, will last longer in your refrigerator, and taste better than factory-farm-supermarket-eggs. Now support your local farmers and go buy some farm fresh eggs!